scientific study

Randomised Trials of Energy Efficiency Policy

February 11, 2015 by Adam Whitmore

It is often impossible to know in advance how innovative policy interventions will affect behavior. Fortunately there are models from elsewhere that can help address these issues. A well proven means of judging the effectiveness of interventions is the use of randomized trials.[read more]

Materials Innovation: Designing Better Surfaces for Energy

August 29, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Better Surfaces for Energy

Solid core material is almost a given for technology. But just because the guts are right doesn’t guarantee success. The surface layer, in fact, can hold the key in some applications. Yet its importance is still easy to overlook. This area is where Bilge Yildiz keeps her focus.[read more]

New Brunswick Begins Ingenious Fracking Research

August 26, 2014 by Jessica Kennedy

New Study on Fracking and Water


In a brilliant initiative that I wish was implemented sooner, New Brunswick is going to investigate water quality in locations where hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations to extract oil and natural gas from shale are likely to happen – before they happen.[read more]

Sustainability Science Requires the Freedom to Observe and Understand the Planet

July 14, 2014 by Steven Cohen

If we are to develop a sustainable, renewable economy, it is essential that human activities have as little negative impact on the planet as possible. Without a sophisticated understanding of our earth, it is impossible to manage and minimize the impacts of our activities on our home planet.[read more]

The High Cost of Climate Change Inaction: Two New Studies

July 2, 2014 by NRDC Switchboard

Two important studies recently released on the economic costs of climate change show us the very high costs of continuing on our current carbon pollution trajectory. In this post I provide some calculations and information illustrating these results, based on reported findings in each analysis.[read more]

Surprising Nanotubes: Some Slippery, Some Sticky

June 5, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Nanotube Types

Nanotubes — microscopic cylinders the shape of drinking straws, but just one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair — have been the subject of intensive research, with potential uses ranging from solar cells to chemical sensors to reinforced composite materials.[read more]

A Tale of Two Climate Reports, and a Call to Action

May 12, 2014 by NRDC Switchboard

Much has been made of the very sobering National Climate Assessment report that came out recently. Climate change is affecting where and how Americans live and work as well as their health, and evidence is mounting that burning fossil fuels has made extreme weather much more likely.[read more]

How to Count Methane Emissions

May 5, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Methane Emissions Measurements

In formulating policies to address greenhouse gas emissions, or evaluating the potential impact of different energy technologies on global climate change, one of the thorniest issues is how to account for the very distinctive characteristics of various different gases.[read more]

Excitons Observed in Action for the First Time

April 19, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Solar Tech Advancements

A quasiparticle called an exciton — responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits — has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within materials has never been directly observed.[read more]

More Research and Data Needed on Induced Earthquakes from Oil and Gas Operations

March 28, 2014 by Briana Mordick

Quakes and Fracking

In the early evening on March 27, 1964 a magnitude 9.2 earthquake struck beneath Alaska’s Prince William Sound, 75 miles east of Anchorage. The ground shook for over four minutes, triggering landslides and a deadly tsunami that claimed lives as far south as Crescent City, CA.[read more]